A kinder, gentler route to influence

Pets do seem to be playing an increasing role in many of our lives. Indeed there seem to be quite a few folks I know who acquired a dog during lockdown, who are now becoming features on work video calls and no-one minds anymore too. It is great.

Dogs have owners… cats have staff’.

In my house, no dogs, but there are cats… 2 cats. Now, I would not say I am a cat person… but somehow they do wiggle their way into your heart, so that you no longer mind when they walk all over your keyboard when you’re composing that important email to your boss or start scratching at your door, which you shut to concentrate for that important video call, all because well, the door was shut… it is, after all just a cute thing they do.

Now with a single pet, this human interaction undoubtedly is charming… but with 2, a new layer of interaction unfolds. Not only do you get your interaction, but you also get to watch how they interact with each other too.

And, having spent way too much time, at home, with pets, during lockdown, what I have come to release is that there are extra layers of cat politics and dynamics I simply did not understand before.

Reality check

In my human reality, for years I simply thought one of them was timid, running away at the slightest noise I made… yet now I discover that maybe the real problem is not me, the human… but actually the other cat…

This is the friendly one, but in cat world I am beginning to suspect may actually be just the pushy one, intimidating its way around the other just to get more food. Through observation, my perspective has changed.

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And, needless to say, with increasing age, and a less active lifestyle it is leading to weight gain… (for the cat this is!)… the result being they are now fed separately on calorie-controlled diets… with the pushy-one, has now taken to rattling the door petulantly, making noises to get the food it desires. Whilst the other, now simply meows at me politely and gently to get fed.

The result, one now gets fed the right prescribed amount at the right time, the other pretty much gets fed on demand, has doors opened and generally gets whatever it wants… and this situation has forced the observation back to the human world.

Being kind can create soft power

Yes, I know, maybe it is not fair and maybe I am showing favourites, but more subtly what my reaction it does go to show is that sometimes being kind and gentle, can be more powerful than being pushy in getting what you want.

It really is an illustration of ‘soft power’ and influence… all in my living room.

Have a good week everyone.

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